10 Of The Best Ski Pants For Men in 2022
It might surprise you… but snow is cold. And wet. And did I mention cold? The bottom line is, whether you’re heading into the backcountry for a gnarly solo mission or carving mellow slopes at your local resort, outfitting yourself with the best ski pants (and ski jackets for that matter) is critical if you want to keep your nether regions warm and dry when you’re out in the white.
The best skiing pants for men feature top-notch waterproofing to keep out slush and snow, in addition to insulation to keep you warm. They’ll also ideally be quite breathable so that you won’t sweat yourself out whether you’re strapping hiking boots on for a cross-country jaunt or grinding uphill burns.
Here is a versatile, varied lineup of the best ski pants and best snowboard pants on the market in 2021, capable of tackling everything from the remote regions of the Yukon to your local terrain park.
10 Best Ski Pants For Men in 2021
Best Overall Ski Pants: Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants
The Sabre AR is the premier snowsports pant on the market, with just enough interior lining to keep you warm without compromising mobility or breathability, and a bombproof three-layer Gore-Tex outer that sheds water and handles abrasion with aplomb.
Wide double side zips create fast ventilation, and the pants include attachment points to link with the Sabre AR Jacket, creating a seamless suit that eliminates any chance of snow finding its way in. The cuffs are constructed from 100D Cordura and slip easily under snowboard highbacks, while reinforced instep patches help protect against any potential abrasion from your skis. All told, this is our top pick for reliable men’s snow pants whether you ride on skis or boards.
Runner Up: Outdoor Research Carbide Bibs
The Carbide Bib from Outdoor Research was neck and neck with the Sabre AR for the top slot. In the end, these bibs took second marks simply because we find that the best ski and snowboard pants for men tend to skew towards traditional ski pants rather than bibs. But there is a lot to recommend about the Carbides (they didn’t win SKI magazine’s Gear of the Year Award for nothing), and they may be the best choice of men’s snow pants for many mountain athletes.
A three-layer Pertex outer protects from wind and snow alike, while the dual side zips are easy to operate, dumping heat on uphill burns. The suspender webbing is comfortable enough that you often forget you’re wearing bibs and not ski pants, and like the Sabre AR, the Carbide Bibs pair with the Carbide Jacket for a singular snowsuit. Added features like an avalanche beacon pocket, stout scuff guards, and a right knee zip-top (for taking a leak on the go), make these men’s ski bibs even more useful.
Best Budget Pick: The North Face Freedom Insulated Ski Pants
It’s not often you find the best ski pants for men under $200, but the Freedom Insulated Pants from The North Face are a rare exception. These men’s snow pants don’t have the same level of waterproofing or durability as the Carbide Bibs or the Sabre AR pants, but for the low price point, they’re a solid buy.
The reinforced nylon kickpatches wear well over time, and the TNF Chimney Venting system is surprisingly effective at staving off heat sweats, while the Heatseeker Eco insulation performs exceptionally well given the low cost. These men’s ski pants feature integrated stretch gaiters, vents in the inner thigh, articulated knees for maximum mobility, and an easily adjustable waist. Snowboarders, in particular, will appreciate the baggier style. The Freedom Pants aren’t the most rugged pair of ski or snowboard pants out there, but they’re a stellar budget option for newer riders or anyone who isn’t trying to break the bank.
Best Eco-Friendly Option: Patagonia Untracked Ski Pants
With a three-layer Gore-Tex outer made from 92% recycled nylon and entirely Fair Trade Certified sewn, the Untracked Pants from Patagonia are a pair of snowboard or ski pants you can feel proud to own. This outer is lined with a surprisingly warm flannel back layer, which slips nicely over base layers for fast dressing and undressing.
One of the cooler features here is the design of the waist. It seamlessly incorporates a variety of features, from a moisture-repellent lining to adjustable tabs to fine-tune fit, along with grown-on belt loops, and a webbing loop in the rear to attach to the powder gasket on Patagonia snow jackets. Four zippered pockets provide plenty of space for gear storage, and a RECCO reflector keeps you visible in all conditions. Like most snow gear from Patagonia, these pants aren’t cheap ($499), but they’re reliable and well-made, and with environmentally friendly practices to boot, despite the price tag they are still a top contender in the best ski and snowboard pants for men.
Best Waterproofing: Stio Environ Ski Pants
The Environs from Stio are standout all-rounders, but the three-layer Dermizax outer helps them rise about the rest as some of the most rugged and weatherproof ski pants in existence. The heavy-duty outer remains quite breathable, though large outer thigh vents help dump heat fast when skinning or otherwise breaking a sweat in the pow.
The Environs manage to stay fairly lightweight given their impressive durability, and the 600D Cordua kickpatches on the cuffs are nothing short of bulletproof. Four pockets allow for a wealth of storage, and the snow pants are quite baggy, providing maximum mobility whether you’re on a snowboard or skis.
Most Comfortable Ski Pants: Helly Hansen Sogn Bib
Not all bibs are created equal. The Sogn bibs from Helly Hansen prove that (in a good way). Comfort takes the reigns here, with massive heat vents and stretch fabric on the back panel for improved fit and mobility. The three-layer HELLY TECH ripstop outer is tough as nails, and the cuffs reinforcements stand up to any abuse you’ll throw at them, whether from skis or crampons or plain old tripping over yourself.
Two roomy cargo pockets and a D-ring to hold a beacon provide enough storage space without going overkill, and the entire piece is bluesign approved for environmental standards. There isn’t any insulation here, so you’ll need to layer with these ski bibs, but in terms of comfort, whether you’re looking into chill resort days or hardy backcountry missions, you won’t find a better option in terms of ski pants for men.
Best for Beginners: Columbia Bugaboo IV Ski Pants
Unlike their rugged namesake range, the Bugaboos are a stellar choice for beginner ski pants, with an astoundingly low price point, but enough functionality, warmth, and waterproofing to get you on and off the slopes time and time again.
The Omni-Tech outer does a good job waterproofing, while the snap gusset and internal leg gaiters keep out the white stuff. Zippered pockets provide secure storage for valuables. There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles to rattle off here, hence the low price point, but if you’re a beginner, you won’t go wrong with the Bugaboo men’s snow pants. You’ll stay warm, dry, and comfortable, and you’ll be able to focus on what you came to the slopes to do (become a better skier or snowboarder).
Best of the Rest
These unisex pants from Strafe were Backcountry’s Editor’s Choice for good reason, thanks to a one-of-a-kind outer from ultralight, air-permeable, three-layer Schoeller Aerobrane. This bombproof outer also features a four-way stretch for maximum mobility, so these ski pants don’t compromise an inch of performance.
The overall pant construction is built with crampon use in mind, which is great if you plan on rougher backcountry missions where you may be tackling moderate ice routes. These are standout men’s snow pants for both skiing, snowboarding, and for getting up to the summit prior (hopefully with the best winter boots for men in hand, or feet for that matter).
The Freedriders are another standout offering where comfort and mobility are concerned. Two-layer Gore-Tex provides adequate waterproofing without compromising on an inch of movement or mobility. The Freerider Pants can be combined with Marmot’s Freerider Jacket for an all-around ski suit.
The hand and thigh zippered pockets are water-resistant, and the PFC-free DWR helps you feel better about the environmental costs of your purchase. If performance and comfort are your most important factors in men’s ski pants, the Freeriders are a great option.
The Powderbound Insulated Pants from REI Co-op are another great budget option for men’s snow pants, with bluesign approved nylon and two-layer Peak waterproofing. 40 grams of synthetic insulation provide adequate warmth without adding too much bulk, while inner-thigh vents help you shed heat.
Gaiters, reinforced hems, zippered pockets, articulated knees, and a gusseted crotch. The list goes on, but you get the idea. The point is, all the boxes are checked here, albeit with slightly less top-end construction and material (hence the lower price). Still, you’ll stay warm and dry at the resort with these ski pants on your legs, and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg, either.
Ski Pants vs Snowboard Pants
The best ski and snowboard pants for men are similar, in that they’re both designed to keep you dry and warm when charging big lines downhill, and there are plenty of hybrid pants that perform well on both sides of the aisle. That said, there are a few differences between ski-specific and board-specific pants.
Like ski jackets, the big difference between the best ski and snowboard pants for men are in how the pants fit. Skiing pants are generally slimmer and more form-fitting, complementing speed and precision when running lines. Snowboarding pants, on the other hand, are much looser and baggier. The baggier nature of snowboarding pants is partially due to snowboarder style (snowboarding is popular with skateboarding and surfing demographics, and snowboard apparel tends to mirror the laid-back, baggy aesthetic of those crowds), but also because of the more crouched posture required by snowboarding.
The padding in each style of men’s snow pants also differs. Most ski pants feature reinforced padding near the ankles to protect from abrasion from the wearer’s opposite ski, while snowboarding pants have reinforced padding around the knees and buttock, both to protect against falls and, in the case of the latter, because snowboarders spend a lot of time sitting down, whether while strapping into their board or taking a breather.
Buying Considerations for Men’s Snow Pants
Just because we’ve awarded a given pant high marks does not mean it’s the perfect ski or snowboard pant for you. Every skier or snowboarder is different. Depending on your style, typical objectives, and experience level, the best ski pant for you may not be the best ski pant for your friend, for example. Let’s break down some of the factors you should take into consideration before you buy.
Ski Bibs vs Pants
The best ski pants for men generally come in two styles, traditional pants and bibs, which sort of look like overalls. Bibs are generally better at keeping out snow and moisture, since they reach much higher up on your torso, reducing the need for a powder skirt on your jacket, but they naturally run hotter than ski pants and fit differently.
Many boarders don’t like bibs because they feel restrictive, while others can’t stand pants because they often slip down or let snow in. The truth is there are incredible options in both categories. You have to find what works best for you, and take into consideration the best men’s winter jackets you have in your closet. If it doesn’t have a powder skirt or attachment points for your pants (or if it rides up high), then bibs might be a great choice.
The best ski pants for men need to be waterproof. Gore-Tex is the most commonly used outer, and one of the most well-known and reliable, but many brands use in-house materials, too. Three-layer outers generally provide the best waterproofing, while more budget-focused options will use two-layers instead.
Waterproofing and breathability are often at odds with each other but are important factors of the best men’s snow pants. Make sure you don’t just find a pant that keeps you dry in the snow, but one that lets your body breathe as well, whether that’s through a well-designed venting system, such as large side zips to dump heat, or simply a breathable fabric.
Breathability is less important for beginners since as a newbie you’ll mostly be carving downhill without too much exertion. If you’re skiing cross country, skinning, or otherwise breaking a sweat in the backcountry, breathability will quickly become nearly as important as warmth and waterproofing.
Style and Fit
As discussed above, men’s skiing pants feature a more streamlined style, to improve the wearer’s aerodynamics and speed. This means slimmer, more form-fitting attire, both in terms of pants and jackets. Snowboarding pants are designed to mimic the snowboarder’s crouched posture, which results in baggier, looser pants with much wider legs. Given that snowboarding is more focused on tricks and style than speed, aerodynamics are less important here, and padding on the knees and buttocks to protect in falls is more common.
There are a variety of accessory features you can expect to find in the best ski and snowboard pants. Here are a few:
- Zippered pockets
- Attachment points or a pocket for an avalanche beacon
- Inner or outer thigh zips to dump heat
- Integrated gaiters
- Reinforced ankles and cuffs
- Reflective coating for visibility
FAQs About Finding The Best Ski Pants for Men
What do you wear under ski/snowboard pants?
The material you wear under your ski pants is called your base layer. What to wear under ski pants has changed dramatically over the years, and the base layers of 20 years ago are a far cry from those of today. In the past, cotton was the preferred base layer material, but it does a poor job keeping the wearer dry. Modern base layers are made with synthetic or fine natural fibers to help you not only stay warm but dry as well.
Generally, you’ll only need one base layer under your pants. That can vary from lightweight synthetic legging to thicker wool layers for extreme cold. Your base layer can consist of ¾ length leggings (above the boot) or full-length ones. Generally, your base layer should fit snug, but be fairly thin, allowing for maximum mobility inside your ski pants.
How should the best ski and snowboard pants for men fit?
Ski and snowboard pants fit slightly differently, but the fit is ultimately the wearer’s preference. Ski pants are generally much longer than traditional pants. You want them to hit just below your ankle so that they can entirely cover your ski boots. The waist should be comfortable when moving without any major gaps that can let snow in.
A big part of how ski pants fit is how they fit with your ski jacket. Your jacket should rest comfortably over the pants, without leaving room for snow to enter. If you’re wearing stretch pants, they’ll generally be more tight-fitting, but make sure they’re loose enough that you can comfortably squat and sit down.
How do you wash ski/snowboard pants?
If you’re wondering how to wash ski pants, don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you might think. That said, it really depends on the material. Does it have down or synthetic insulation? Is the outer made from Gore-Tex? All this changes the game, so your best bet is to follow the factory instructions on your ski pants.
The best men’s ski pants will last for seasons to come and go a long way towards making sure you stay warm and dry on the slopes. This, in turn, leads to a much more enjoyable skiing or snowboarding experience.
No one likes spending their days on the slopes shivering in shoddy, poorly-fitted rental pants. A small investment in a pair of high-quality, reliable snowboard or ski pants pays massive dividends on powder days to come. So grab yourself a pair and get after it!